King: Life and Letters of John Locke, pp. 299-300


Judging is a bare action of the understanding, whereby a man, several objects being proposed to him, takes one of them to be best for him.

But this is not Election?

Election, then is, when a man, judging anything to be best for him, ceases to consider, examine, and inquire any further concerning that matter; for, till a man comes to this, he has not chosen, the matter still remains with him under deliberation, and not determined. Here, then, comes in the will, and makes Election voluntary, by stopping in the mind any further inquiry and examination. This Election sometimes proceeds further to

Firm Resolution, which is not barely a stop to further inquiry by Election at that time, but the predetermination, as much as in him lies, of his will not to take the matter into any further deliberation; i. e. not to employ his thoughts any more about the eligibility, i. e. the suitableness, of that which he has chosen to himself as making a part of his happiness. For example, a man who would be married has several wives proposed to him. He considers which would be fittest for him, and judges Mary best; afterwards, upon that continued judgment, hakes choice of her; this choice ends his deliberation; he stops all further consideration whether she be best or no, and resolves to fix here, which is not any more to examine whether she be best or fittest for him of all proposed; and consequently pursues the means of obtaining her, sees, frequents, and falls desperately in love with her, and then we may see Resolution at the highest; which is an act of the will, whereby he not only supersedes all further examination, but will not admit of any information or suggestion, will not hear anything that can be offered against the pursuit of this match.

Thus we may see how the will mixes itself with these actions, and what share it has in them; viz. that all it does is but exciting or stopping the operative faculties; in all which it is acted on more or less vigorously, as the uneasiness that presses is greater or less. At first, let us suppose his thoughts of marriage in general to be excited only by some consideration of some moderate convenience offered to his mind; this moves but moderate desires, and thence moderate uneasiness leaves his will almost indifferent; he is slow in his choice amongst the matches offered, pursues coolly till desire grows upon him, and with it uneasiness propotionably, and that quickens his will; he approaches nearer, he is in love—is set on fire—the flame scorches—this makes him uneasy with a witness; then his will, acted by that pressing uneasiness, vigorously and steadily employs all the operative faculties of body and mind for the attainment of the beloved object, without which he cannot be happy.

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